Smothered Gator Means Successful Hunt

Alligators are plentiful around this part of the South.  I was surprised to learn there are an estimated 5,000 gators in a reservoir near our state capital 100 miles from here.  We’re competing for the same habitat, and I’m not sure who is winning.  Haven’t seen one in the creek yet (it’s too shallow) but one was killed in a pond about 1/4 mile from here because he was considered a “pest”.  Gator tail is considered good eating.  To me it “tastes like chicken”.  Kinda chewy though.  Thought you’d enjoy a gator hunt story and a recipe for smothered gator. Recipe comes from The Shadows-on-the-Teche Cookbook.

First Time Gator Hunters Successful_2012


Smothered Alligator

2 onions, finely chopped                     1 bay leaf

¼ cup cooking oil                                ¼ tsp basil

1 bell pepper, finely chopped             Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup celery, finely chopped              ¼ cup finely chopped parsley

2 pounds alligator meat, cut into       ¼ cup finely chopped shallots



Saute onions in oil until golden brown; add bell pepper and celery and sauté until tender.  Add meat and seasonings and simmer for 40 minutes.  Add parsley and shallots about 5 minutes before serving.  Yield: 6-8 servings


If you prefer to BBQ your gator tail instead of smothering, marinate in wine for a couple of hours before grilling.



  1. Only gad ‘gator once on my only visit to Florida… it was really terrific. Wish we could get it here 😦

  2. That would be the biggest reason why I wouldn’t want to live in Florida. I’ve got a best friend down there. I recently got watching Gator Boys and was fascinated by it. I can’t see how they dare to swim in and find the alligators. Nuts.

    • They aren’t aggressive unless their nest or young’uns are disturbed. But I don’t want to confirm that personally!

  3. Gator! Never tried it. Would be kind of scared too. It would have to be one of those foods that you tell me is chicken, and then after I ate it, told me it was gator!

    • I think it was something eaten out of necessity, like my husband’s ancestors would have done in the 19th century because they lived in gator country. Even when cooked, it retains a translucent quality unlike chicken. I agree you’d have to serve it with a lot of sauce to cover it up!

  4. Call me a fuddy-duddy but I’d probably think twice about gator hunting with a five year old!

    • The adults let him do the “easy” part, likely using a .22 at point blank range. I agree that it wouldn’t be suitable for just any child. Hunting does begin at an early age here. It is not at all unusual to see children with rifles or bow & arrow during deer season, accompanied by an adult.

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